Wednesday, January 9, 2013

P4W2 Day 3 Mecca - Joshua Tree N.P., CA 50 miles

I awoke early this morning to remarkably warm temps in comparison to the day earlier.
And the nasty winds from the afternoon before had completely vanished.  What I soon
learned is that desert wind can come up very very fast.  I had 15 pleasant miles in
when I completed my serpentine route through pretty Box Canyon. When I turned the corner
to head uphill to Joshua Tree National Park, that is when the headwinds started.

The day featured two energy-depleting climbs about 6 miles long each. 
Both had really really bad headwind, so my speed on the loaded bike for at least half the day hovered
around a dismal 6 mph.  I had come to see Joshua Tree, so the really slow riding
allowed me a longer visit!  Here's hoping for wind more at my back when I turn
the corner eastward tomorrow.

Joshua Tree really is a pretty park.  My nephew Austin had recommended I visit here,
and I am glad I did.  The park road is a winding, pretty road that loses and gains
major elevation.  Wildlife sightings today
included the loggerhead shrike, Gambel's quail, and red tailed hawks.
In the park's valley today, the temps were roughly 15 degrees
warmer than on the mountaintops.  And is this place dry. I would not attempt this ride
through the park during the other three seasons of the year.   I went through a couple
gallons of water today and asked strangers for more. I had forgotten that hand wells
would be a bit less common in a desert park.  Plus an extra gallon of water might
have made me stop altogether instead of moving a few miles per hour.

The massive white boulders at the north end of the park are a sight to behold; some are
larger than 2-story houses.  Campsites are tastefully nestled into several of these boulder fields.  Through the clean desert air the Milky Way shines from one horizon to the next.  Coyotes howl through the crisp desert air not far from my campsite.

1 comment:

  1. Paul!!! You're doing another cross country ride!! Good Luck and I'll be following you all the way.

    Tom G.
    Westborough, MA